Olympic National Park’s Hoh and Rialto Beach Regions to Reopen

Two of Olympic National Park’s most-popular regions have been closed to the public since October storms washed away sections of the road. Now, after being closed for over a month, the Hoh Rainforest and Rialto beach will once again be open to your off-season adventures. This is great news for those hoping to #OptOutside on Black Friday and gives outdoor recreation enthusiasts yet another reason to head over to the western side of the Olympic Peninsula.

After being closed by storm damage in mid-October, the Hoh River Road is once again open to vehicles. The road and region had been closed due to a large washout that nearly wiped out the entire road. After a month of repairs to stabilized the river bank and after adding safety barriers and sign, the road still isn’t completely fixed, but Park officials have reopened it. Be aware that the road to the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park is currently reduced to one-lane travel at the damaged location, approximately 5.5 miles inside the park boundary. Also, as with any road in Olympic National Park,  motorists should use extra caution and be alert to other drivers in that area.

Near Hole in the Wall, along Rialto Beach along the Wilderness Coast of Olympic National Park
Near Hole in the Wall, along Rialto Beach along the Wilderness Coast of Olympic National Park

Out along the coast, the Mora Road is scheduled to be reopened on Saturday, November 19th.  The road had been closed since mid-October due to storm damage and to provide safe access for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair the Rialto Beach jetty. The restricted access to the area has been a bummer to most hoping to experience fall along the Wilderness Coast of Olympic National Park. However, the repairs and closures were needed and completely justified. Hopefully, this area will be strong enough to survive the next few years of storms and continue to remain open and captivate the imaginations of future national park lovers.

Elsewhere in Olympic National Park, the Olympic Hot Springs Road in the Elwha region still remains closed to motor vehicles because of safety concerns related to frequent intermittent flooding of the road. The region has been closed to cars for the majority of the last few years, helping return the newly free Elwha River to even more wild conditions. Since the large storm that hit the region in October, a side channel of the Elwha River has become more active, leading to flooding of the road in an area just upstream of the new bridge. Bicycle and foot access are still permitted, but visitors should use the bypass trail to avoid the flood-prone area.  Be aware that Park staff have installed temporary stream gauges to assess the severity and frequency of flooding. The bad news for this region is that a timeline for reopening the road has not yet been established, and will be based upon information gathered from the stream gauges. We shall see if that region ever opens again, or goes the way of the Dosewallips and Lower Queets Roads.

Finally, please be advised that the Hurricane Ridge Road will soon be closing during week days. Once snow has fallen and stays around the road will close intermittently during weekends as well. Weather permitting; the Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled to be open Friday through Sunday and Monday holidays from late November, 2016 through late March, 2017.  The road is also scheduled to be open daily from December 26 through January 3, 2017, but the dates have not been set in stone. Please plan ahead.

 

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Cover Image from Mineral Creek in Olympic National Park. Image is part of The Outdoor Society’s collection of over 30,000 Olympic Peninsula images. For high resolution, professional prints, please contact us. For calendars, please see our store.

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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